The start of a New Year is a time for new beginnings and traditionally a time to make a commitment to achieve a goal. How many people do you know who set goals and talk about big plans, but then they quietly let them slip? Do you find the New Year stimulates new thinking and you are excited by your goal, but when you get back to work and the day-to-day challenges, you find no time to pursue the goal?
Have you set yourself goals for this year? How are you progressing? This year make your goals commitments you will achieve by following these 10 tips.
- Decide on something you really want, not something other people say you should do. Give this serious thought. Spend time visualising what it will be like when you have achieved your goal – does this excite you? If not, this is not the goal to strive for.
- Test your motivation to achieve this goal. On a scale of 1 to 10, where 1 = “it would be nice” and 10 = “I’ll do everything I need to for this”, where do you rate your motivation? A score of 8 or above is strong enough. Anything below that ask yourself, “What has to happen to make that score an 8?” if the answer is easy to find and you can deal with it straight away, bringing your score up to 8, then go ahead. If you don’t know the answer, then this goal is not strong enough for you to stick with it.
- Write down what it’s like to have your goals. Write it in the present tense and use positive language. E.g. “I am confident speaking in public. I can control my nerves so they keep me alert. The audience respond well to …” This helps make the goal crystal clear and you can keep this to refer back to anytime to reinforce your motivation.
- Create a plan. Goals you are excited about is great, and it’s not enough, you need a plan. Think through what it will take for you to work towards your goal. What steps do you need to take? Write out an action plan with dates for achieving each step. Schedule this into your calendar to remind you to stay on track.
- What could stop you or get in the way? Identify obstacles and write them down – e.g. does your goal affect someone else and you need them onside? Does it mean changing a long-held habit, which will be hard to break? For each obstacle, think through how you could overcome it, so you are prepared when they occur and they don’t derail you.
- Do you need help? What resources are available to you? Who could support you? You don’t need to do this alone, enrol some help from others. Even simply asking someone to check in with you regularly to see what progress you are making, can be a huge help in keeping you on track.
- Tell other people about your goals. Now it’s out and public and people will expect you to be making changes and working towards the goal. This may also help reduce some obstacles, such as people will understand why you’re doing things differently.
- Get going on your commitment straight away – no ‘tomorrow…’ Just do it now! Take the first step and keep moving towards your goal.
- Plan little rewards for your progress. Identify milestones (result of a step) and when you hit each one, give yourself a reward. Make sure this is something you enjoy and that it will keep you motivated (i.e. don’t reward with a large glass of wine when your goal is to lose weight). Tell your friends so they can celebrate with you and give you helpful feedback on what you’ve achieved so far. This will help keep up the interest and motivation. Plan a big celebration on achieving your goal. Give yourself credit, where it is due and don’t give yourself too much of a hard time, when things are not progressing as you planned. Learn from those setbacks and do something about them, so you get back on track.
- If it’s a BIG goal and there’s lots you feel you don’t know or you need extra resources, contact a coach and get professional support to fast-track your success. It is so much easier when you have someone on your side to help you think through all the above points and to support you and hold you accountable for achieving your goal.
Amanda Bouch is an accredited professional executive coach with Association for Coaching. She has over 20 years’ experience in learning and development and specialises in helping people step up to being an effective leader. Visit www.amandabouchconsulting.co.uk for more information and resources for you to download free.